STRANGERS ON A TRAIN

(1951)
With Robert Walker, Farley Granger, Ruth Roman, Leo G. Carroll, Patricia Hitchcock, Laura Elliott, Jonathan Hale, Howard St. John
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Black and White
Reviewed by JL

These Rubik Cubes really help me curb my murderous rage     The years 1947-53 can be considered rebuilding years for Alfred Hitchcock, in that his main concern was in expanding upon his own artistic vocabulary.  Most of his films from this era are fascinatingly experimental, if dramatically unsatisfying, but they constituted a necessary period of growth prior to his greatest years of 1954-64. 

     The one undisputed masterpiece from this time was STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, which was the most typically Hitchcock of them all.  In it, a man-child of a psychopath named Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker) corners tennis pro Guy Haines (Farley Granger) while on a train ride and entertains him with his theories on committing the perfect murder.  If two strangers with no known link between them were to "exchange" murders -- in this case, you kill my father and I'll kill your wife -- it would enable each of them to formulate a perfect alibi.  Guy humors Bruno throughout the ride, dismissing him as a harmless loon.  Then Bruno decides to fulfill his end of the bargain as a nice surprise for Guy. 

     STRANGERS ON A TRAIN is an archetypical Hitchcock film, filled with some of the director's most celebrated images: the opening "ballet" of feet, the murder reflected in a pair of eyeglasses, and the heart-stopping climax on an out-of-control merry-go-round.  - JL

Alfred Hitchcock     The Stuff You Gotta Watch


Related Movie

Throw Momma From the Train (1987) - not a remake or a ripoff, but a comic homage to the Hitchcock film which actually uses the original Hitchcock film as a plot point.  Billy Crystal and Danny DeVito star.
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